Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Axe and the Oath: Ordinary Life in the Middle Ages by Robert Fossier

This is an account of how people lived in the middle ages with a focus on people other than aristocrats and other leading persons. Of course, the former tend to be covered more in the sources. It also covered much of Europe with an emphasis on France and Italy. I found it pretty readable, I particularly enjoyed the parts on intellectual and spiritual life.

The author was obviously an authoritative academic. One thing I found different, and not necessarily bad, was the absence of references. Maybe adding pseudo-academic forms to general books is not necessarily beneficial.

Bosworth: The Birth of the Tudors by Chris Skidmore

This is an account of the end of the Wars of the Roses leading up to the Battle of Bosworth. The focus was very much on Henry Tudor and Richard of Gloucester. It’s an interesting period with some questions. For example, Bosworth was a rare example of a political leader (king) had been killed in battle by an invasion (the last example being 1066) so this needs some explaining. I guess that Richard was unlucky (eg losing his son cannot have helped his cause) and not necessarily more ruthless than his contemporaries.

It ended with a description of the latest thoughts on the location and progress of the battle, as well as the finding Richard’s body. All of this is quite interesting.

I started this as a holiday book in the Schwarzwald.